Main image of article Volunteering Makes for Better Workplaces

Does your company encourage you to volunteer? Does it let you do it on company time? Perhaps it should. An extensive Computerworld article points out the benefits HR departments are seeing from creating work environments in which volunteerism is promoted and acknowledged. “Employers are increasingly more than happy to subsidize employees' volunteer efforts outside the workplace, because they've noticed an undeniable link between employee volunteerism and improved collaboration and productivity on the job,” says the article. And as one HR rep puts it, "You see [employees] assisting in the community and interacting in a different environment. When they come back to work, they have a more holistic view of their peers and can appreciate how they view the world. It's great for team-building." Volunteerism can also improve a company’s image in its community. Also, offering paid or unpaid time off for charity work can also help organizations attract younger, more community-minded and tech-savvy employees.

"I just interviewed two people under 30. They both asked about personal days for volunteering. Younger folks are asking about community involvement," says Marcia Riley, vice president of talent management and human resources at ESI International, an Arlington, Va.-based training and consulting firm. "I was not asked that question 20 years ago. Younger folks are demanding this benefit, and good employers are responding."

Successful examples abound and a little investigation into the concept can’t hurt. Anything that helps both the community and a company’s productivity is worth a look.